Twilight Twitches

msgrjimDear Family,
Each week I begin the Twitch with ‘Dear Family.’ Today is the Feast of the Holy Family. For the fun of it, I took a trip to one of my favorite language sites: https://www.etymonline.com and checked out “family.”

Boy, was I surprised! I won’t quote the whole thing, but here are a few snippets:

early 15c., "servants of a household," from Latin familia "family servants, domestics collectively, the servants in a household," thus also "members of a household, the estate, property; the household, including relatives and servants," abstract noun formed from famulus "servant, slave," which is of unknown origin.

The Latin word rarely appears in the sense "parents with their children," for which domus ...was used. Derivatives of famulus include famula "serving woman, maid," famulanter "in the manner of a servant," famulitas "servitude," familiaris "of one's household, private," familiaricus "of household slaves," familiaritas "close friendship."

As time went on the usage evolved into what we normally use, not only referencing “kinfolk” but many types of groupings.

What touched me so much was discovering that at the core of the idea of family was people being in service to someone. When you think about Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, doesn’t the notion of service ring perfectly? They were truly in service to each other.

What is it we want to celebrate on this feast day of “The Holy Family?” Service works for me. And I think I want to preface service with “Loving.” I look around me and I see all my small and large families. When I am looking with a good eye, I see opportunities for service and sometimes actually do it.

And how much service I receive from Annie and Patricio, and the gently enlarging circles of family to Judy and Miriam and Peter and Cathy, to the 50+ people who lead and share ministries, to the peacocks (weekly cruising visitors), the snowbirds, and of course the year-round sunbirds.

I think of my blood family of brothers and sisters and their family circles in turn: what a blessing. We are seven as you know, and I find myself sitting here laughing at memories of Daddy trying to get the attention of one or another of us if he was annoyed. He would have to run thru the list until he got to the person he was after: “Jimmy, Dennis, Patty, Eddie, Peter, Judy, Cathy...” He died too early, but he made the remark before he died that he hoped he had passed along whatever it was he was supposed to teach us by that time. He did.

I’ve remarked here before how blessed I know I am to have the family and the families I have. It is so painful to see situations where that is not the case. Too often, ruptured family situations can be the most hurting of all.

May the Holy Family help us be forgiving. I go back to one of my regular “wisdoms.” Forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling. I decide to forgive with my head, my will. You can say you don’t wish someone in hell and that’s the truth no matter how hurtful things might have been. “God, don’t let there be anything between you and Harry as a result of anything that has passed between me and Harry.”

You might still feel bad about Harry, but one of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that because they may still feel bad, that somehow, they are not capable of forgiving. It’s the perfect temptation of the Devil. Once you can realize that truth, I think painful hurts and memories can ease, maybe even heal. You can forgive although you still feel bad. That’s when you call in the heavy artillery and ask the Holy Family to be there. You don’t have to figure it all out. You just need to let them be there with you. That’s what families do, and we have a Holy One!!!

This is the last time you’ll see 2021 on a Twitch. Here’s to holiness and health in 2022!

In Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
sign frjim

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